Monday, July 20, 2009

U10: Vezax Hardmode

This achievement is gained by not destroying any of the saronite vapors, thus allowing them all to coalesce into a 2nd "boss" type add: the Saronite Animus. You must defeat this Animus before defeating Vezax in order to earn the achievement. The biggest difficulty this poses to groups is that you cannot drop the saronite vapor puddles to provide mana for your healers, because doing so will prevent the animus from spawning.


Our lock got a video!! You can d/l it from filefront here, or view it at Youtube here. From a warlock perspective, this video shows the dodging/casting/puddle-dance the ranged dps need to do!

Raid Makeup:
On our kill, we used:
  • Prot Pally
  • Resto Druid
  • Holy Pally
  • Disc Priest
  • Fury Warr
  • Ret Pally
  • Feral Druid
  • Surv Hunter
  • Destro Warlock
  • Frost Mage

We split our raid with 6 players in melee, and 4 in the "outfield" as it were. The disc priest danced around the shadow crashes with the ranged DPS while the resto druid and holy pally stood in melee range. This limited the number of players having to dodge the shadow crashes and lifeleeches, let the pally not have to interrupt his casting to move, and allowed the resto druid to punch the boss to proc clearcasting.

I recommend that, if you go with this raid makeup or something similar, you place all of the ranged players together in the same group so that when the animus spawns, the priest can use PoH to AoE heal her party. It is a party-only spell, and it is the only group heal that a disc priest will have.

Resto druids:
you will need to be punching the boss as often as possible to allow for Omen of Clarity to proc clearcasting. Stand behind the boss with the rest of the melee so that you won't get parried, and give those branchy limbs of yours a workout!!

P1: "Before the Animus"

The tank and melee should run in together so that the melee can begin immediately, and interrupters will be in range to quickly stop any of Vezax's Searing Flames casts. HoTs can be applied before the boss is pulled, but make sure all mana is regenerated before entering combat.

  • Tank: get aggro and keep timing on Surge of Darkness casts. If you and your healers are well-geared and have adequate shields to protect against the damage influx, you will not have to kite out of the Surges.

  • Melee DPS: go to town, just mind your aggro. There should be one player dedicated to interrupting the Searing Flames, so that the others do not have to break their dps rotations. Avoid cleaving or AoEing any of the wandering saronite vapors.

  • Ranged DPS: with-hold using mana when outside of the shadow crash puddles. I will assume that your group will know the strategy from none-hardmode Vezax, so I won't go into much detail, but suffice to say, don't get hit by the shadow crashes and don't life-leech on each other. For the sake of mana, you should only cast mana-using spells when you are standing in the black puddles to reduce your mana cost.

  • Healers: you have the hardest job. Congratulations! We had the holy pally and resto druid doing the bulk of the healing in this phase. The disc priest did spot healing on the raid and cast shields on the tank from within the shadow crash puddles, where the spell cost was significantly reduced. We had our prot pally and holy pally trade cooldowns to guard against the extra damage from the Surge of Darkness casts; if the holy pally is using hand of sacrifice, the other healers will need to be ready to heal them as well.

Holy Pallies:
You cannot, under any circumstances, use Divine Shield when using Hand of Sacrifice on the main tank. You will need to save Divine Shield so that you have the cooldown available when you use Divine Sacrifice in P2, or you'll die in less than a single gcd!

Resto Druids:
3.2 Edit: grumble grumble, clearcasting no longer procs for casters on this fight. Strat changes are pending further testing/experience.

3.1 strat: Keep a rejuv on the tank as often as possible, though you do not need to refresh it immediately if the tank is beng shielded and isn't taking damage at that moment. Use ALL of your OoC procs to cast lifebloom. If you get an OoC proc, use it to cast lifebloom! Let them bloom rather than refreshing them without an OoC proc, if at all possible. When you get a stack of 3 such lifeblooms on the tank, let them bloom before casting a new one (aka don't roll it!) so that you can get mana back from the bloom. The blooms will give you mana back even though you spent none on the cast due to the clearcasting proc. This is how you will be able to have the mana to heal through this fight!!

is also useful, even though it has a relatively heavy mana cost, because it has a very long-duration HoT. Living Seed is be useful to have in this fight because of regrowth and bloom crits, but try to save NS+HT for P2.

Overall, rejuv and lifebloom will be most of your healing done, and you will probably find yourself on the top of the healing charts from these alone. The OoC procs for Lifebloom casts are critical (or were, in 3.1!).


Once all 8 of the vapors have spawned, they will collect together in the spot where Vezax stands before the pull, and coalesce into the Animus. We did try having two tanks for this, but found it split healing too much and gimped our dps; we had more success by having only one tank, making our MT pick up this add in addition to holding Vezax. The animus is NOT tauntable, so DPS cannot begin attacking it until the tank has established threat. Vezax will have a personal damage shield up while the animus is active so dps on Vezax will be tiny (casters should just stop and save their mana), but the dps needs to hold back from attacking the animus until the tank is ready so that they do not pull aggro.

We found that Vezax will not cast Searing Flames while the animus is active, so once threat is established, all dps can move over to the animus to bring it down quickly, even those that would be interrupting the Searing Flames cast. Vezax will, however, continue to cast Surge of Darkness, so vent needs to stay clear so that the healers and tank can continue to coordinate their shields. The tank will be taking excessive damage in this phase, so all 3 healers need to be on their toes.

The animus himself will cast Profound Darkness every couple seconds, doing raid-wide damage.

  • Tank: you should carefully position yourself so that you're standing in Vezax's starting position, so that when the animus spawns in the spot, you can quickly get aggro before it floats over and smacks down a healer. Call out on vent when you feel like you have sufficient threat so that dps can begin. You will need to continue monitoring Vezax's surges, however, so make sure those are still coordinated. The use of focus targets will help a lot, along with mods that show your focus target's cast bar.

  • Ranged DPS: You NEED to continue to pay attention to shadow crashes and life leech. The stacking debuff will quickly reach a point where shadow crashes can one-shot you, and healers will be busy enough as it is with keeping the tank alive. Use healthstones as necessary, and make sure you don't run out of range of the healers for very long. Again, use puddles to conserve mana and don't start dpsing the animus until the tank has established aggro.

  • Melee DPS: No more interrupts are necessary until the animus dies, so just switch over to killing the animus as soon as the tank has picked it up and has sufficient threat. Kill animus. /stabby stabby.

  • Healers: all three of you should be healing the tank at this point. Provide HoTs to the rest of the raid as necessary to keep their health from getting low with the profound darkness ticks. You will still need to keep track of surges and shield through them. This phase will blow most of your mana, so it is preferable to enter this phase with 60-75% mana or more. You can have your priest help heal the ranged with PoH.

Ret/Holy Paladins: In this phase, you may want to pop Divine Shield and then use Divine Sacrifice on the raid (holy pallies may want to thus pick up Divine Guardian in their spec for this fight). If there are multiple pallies available to do this, then time yourselves so that you do not overlap. With 2 pallies doing this for us, the animus was in execute range by the time the second sacrifice wore off, and this saved a lot of the mana needed to get through the remainder of the fight.

If you have multiple pallies as well, we recommend having a ret pally handle keeping Sacred Shield up on the tank, to conserve the healers' mana.

Resto Druids:
On top of rejuv, regrowth (as a HoT), and lifebloom from OoC procs (pre-3.2), you may need to cast swiftmend, NS+HT, and nourish to help keep the tank alive. Rejuv will be cheap to cast, especially if you have the Idol of Awakening and Spark of Hope, so you may want to help raid heals by popping a rejuv on those that need it. Having the 4-pc T8 bonus will also help.

P3: "Phew, just hold out now!"

Once the Animus dies, you continue on with killing Vezax just as was done in P1. There are no changes, just kill him before mana runs out, and keep dodging lifeleech/shadowcrash! Your interruptor will need to remember to still look out for Searing Flames casts and stop them, as Vezax will resume casting them once the animus is down.

Have fun, and good luck!


Niniel said...

Thanks for this summary! I have just started on 10 man hard modes so I haven't had a chance to try this one yet.

Kae said...

I really like this boss fight. It really puts lifebloom and OoC in the spotlight :) It feels gimmicky for a resto druid, but after all of the lifebloom nerfs, it's nice to let lifebloom shine alongside rejuv again, rather than be in its shadow.

I hope you find your hardmode attempts as much fun as I did :)

Anonymous said...

Post 3.2 do you just keep a rejuv on the tank till the animus and then regrowth and whatever is needed until the animus dies? Then go back to just a rejuv on the tank.

Kae said...

It depends entirely on how well your ranged are keeping from hurting each other or getting crashed, as well as how well your fellow healers and shielders are easing the damage taken by the surges (if you are tanking through it rather than kiting). It also depends on your tanks' gear level and the relative mana pools of the healers.

So, sometimes rejuv is not enough. If the tank is dipping uncomfortably low (50% ish), a regrowth can help; if regrowth is already ticking and the tank's getting towards 30-40% health, nourish or swiftmend is a good answer. If you have access to a black puddle because you're out in ranged, a lifebloom stack on the tank can be a well-timed bloom, if you manage to get it to time off of the surge cast. I don't recommend jumping into ranged for these puddles if you aren't already out there, though, as a sudden new crash target can really throw off the movement and dps timing of those already out there.

Ultimately, you will want as much mana as possible going into the animus, because all hell breaks loose :) Just be extremely careful not to waste overheals, since you will still need to heal out the rest of Vezax, which may take some time after the animus has died if too many ranged-players have life-leeched him back up in health.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips. Your guides have been great.

Kae said...

Glad to help :)